Country Kitchen: Strawberry Festival Season

Country Kitchen: Strawberry Festival Season
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As my husband and I drove along a country road, I spied a sign before a church announcing "Strawberry Festival".
"They still have strawberry festivals!" I exclaimed and recalled those of my childhood.

When I was growing up, oh, so many years ago, the Strawberry Festival, sponsored by the ladies of the one church in our small village was a highlight of summer.

This event usually was held on a Saturday, late afternoon and into the evening. Strawberry dishes of all kinds were served, but the most delicious was strawberry shortcake.

Festivals at Miss Nellie's

The most memorable, to me, were the festivals at Miss Nellie's country home. Reached by driving down a long dirt laneway lined with tall maple trees, this colonial home was a show place in town.

Nellie and her husband, Jack, enjoyed entertaining and opened up their home for the festival. She set up tables in every room. Women from the Ladies Aide Society bustled around her large kitchen baking shortcake biscuits and hulling berries. Other ladies brought in strawberry pies, puddings, and gelatin.

From about 4 PM until 8 PM, there was a continual round of people sitting down for a strawberry meal. They gave a donation for this was a fund raiser for the church, as well as a social get-together. After folks finished eating, they sat on Nellie's long porches (front and back) and visited. The children played tag and croquet in her front lawn.

Festivals at the Town Hall

As Miss Nellie grew older and couldn't entertain so well, the festival took place at the Town Hall near the church. Here long tables were set up, strawberry shortcake prepared in the kitchen, and we still enjoyed a delicious meal.

In later years, an addition was built onto the church, complete with dining area and kitchen. Then festivals and church suppers were held here.

However, those strawberry festival memories of my childhood center around the enjoyable times we had at Miss Nellie's.

Numerous Strawberry Dishes

Strawberry season seems to last much longer these days when these berries can be transported from distant states before they begin ripening in New England. We've been enjoying these berries in various forms....fruit salads, strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake, and on ice cream...for at least a month.

Soon though, berries will begin ripening in gardens around the state, and we'll find native ones in the stores, roadside stands, or pick-your-own. In our house, we have strawberries on pancakes or waffles as a breakfast or supper meal. This makes a shortcake variation that is delicious.

PANCAKE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE - Prepare your favorite pancake or waffle recipe. Hull, mash, and sweeten strawberries. Alternate layers of waffle/pancake and strawberries. Serve with whipped topping, whipped cream, or ice cream.

You can use crepes for this, too. Or make waffles with finely chopped walnuts in them for a festive dish. This dish also is good when you use blueberry pancakes with the strawberries. You also can add blueberries to the mashed strawberries for a tasty fruit mixture.

(C) 2003 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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